Tuesday, July 27, 2021

British F-35B Jets On-Board Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier Pound Islamic State Militants — Royal Navy

The British F-35B stealth fighter jets onboard the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier have launched counter-terror operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Middle East, a top Royal Navy commander said.

Last month, The EurAsian Times reported citing a UK Defense Ministry statement that the Royal Navy will deploy the F-35B stealth fighter jets onboard the HMS Queen Elizabeth in the fight against IS, also called Daesh, in the Middle East.

“This will be the first time UK fighter aircraft are embarked on an operational aircraft carrier deployment since 2010, and will be the largest number of F-35Bs ever to sail the seas,” the press release had said.

A British F-35B launches from HMS Queen Elizabeth.
An F-35 onboard the Queen Elizabeth carrier.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth, the Fleet Flagship of the Royal Navy, is a 65,000-ton carrier. It is now joining the anti-terror mission, ‘Operation Shader’ against the Islamic State.

In a series of tweets, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, the Commander of the Carrier Strike Group, said, “The UK Carrier Strike Group is joining the fight against Daesh.”

He went on to say, “It marks a change of emphasis. To date, we’ve delivered diplomatic influence through exercises & engagements – now we deliver the hard punch of maritime-based air power.”

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For operation SHADER, we bring the fifth-generation capabilities of the F35B, including outstanding situational awareness to support the contribution of the Royal Air Force over the past 7 years.” 

“But it also demonstrates the wider utility of maritime-based air power. We offer military and political choice, and we are ready to deliver fifth-generation combat power into any mission, in any theatre, at a time of our choosing,” Moorhouse added.

The F-35B is a fifth-generation multi-role combat aircraft, which combines advanced sensors and mission systems with low observable technology or “stealth”, giving it the ability to operate undetected in hostile airspace.

The stealth fighters can also carry out intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tasks. The Lockheed Martin F-35 is considered the world’s costliest fighter jet.

“The UK is carrying out most of the missions to wipe out the remnants of Daesh in Iraq as the US focuses on its withdrawal from Afghanistan”, said Moorhouse was quoted as saying by Arab News.

With a maximum take-off load of around 60,000lb and a maximum speed of Mach 1.6, the fighter jet increases the operational capabilities of a quick-response mission.

The short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) capability of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning allows it to operate from the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers, the vessels of allied nations, and also short airstrips, reported Eurasian Times.

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The latest operational deployment of F-35B jets on the HMS Queen Elizabeth is being jointly carried out by Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, “which is committed to confronting persistent threats around the world and making a meaningful contribution to global security”, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.

This is a 28-week mission involving the UK Carrier Strike Group. Apart from extending support in counter-terror operations, the British aircraft carrier has participated in ‘Strike Warrior’ military exercises in Scotland and joined drills with NATO partners, including Falcon Strike 2021 in the Mediterranean Sea.

Written by Kanika Sachdeva

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